Our world is loud. The volume nob is turned all the way up.
We hear the noise, but we are too busy to listen. We hear the noise, but we don’t have enough time to listen. We hear the noise, but we don’t have enough energy to listen.
Here’s a scenario that might ring true. Someone is talking to us. We see their mouth moving, we hear their words, but we don’t understand them. Why? Because we are so focused on when their next breath or their next distinguishable pause is coming so that we can interject with what we have been formulating in our mind. It’s about OUR needs and OUR wants. It’s the American way.
We hear them, but we don’t listen.
You see, it’s easy to hear. It doesn’t involve much effort. We can be doing something else, anything else, and still, hear the sounds permeating around us. It’s often passive and it doesn’t disrupt our day. We can go about doing what we need to get done or what we want to do.
Listening is different.
Listening isn’t easy.
It takes energy to listen.
It takes time to listen.
It takes a concerted effort and focus to listen.
It takes refusing to allow your biases, your perceptions, your experiences, your knowledge, and your opinions to get in the way of what the other person is sharing.
That is hard.
That is incredibly hard in a world focused on fulfilling our needs, our wants, and our desires as individuals at a frenetic pace.
You see, listening is a choice.
A valuable and powerful choice.
When you listen to people, you make them feel valued. You make them feel like what they have to say matters. And in today’s world, where more people than ever struggle with depression, anxiety, and suicidal tendencies, listening gives them hope.
Listening involves more than your ears. It involves more than your attention. It involves your heart.
There is a connection that forms between people when we truly listen to each other.
It’s a personal connection that all humans need and desire.
It’s the connection that allows transformation to happen.
The reality is, we want our students to make a positive impact on our world. Yes, we want them to be more creative, more knowledgeable, and more skilled. These characteristics are like the car, while listening is the engine, driving the transformation.
Listening provides the why. It’s the opportunity. It’s what drives students to step out of their comfort zone and attempt something challenging, something difficult, something unthinkable, something that will change the status quo and make a difference in the world.
So stop settling for hearing.
Start being open to listening.